Surfing fitness

The summer comes closer, and so is the desire of getting back onto your surfboard and into the water. Of course, the best way to gain surf specific fitness is to go surfing. But over the winter months temperatures can put you off or waves can be too big. As a result surf specific fitness gets lost. 

This is why we put together a 6 week plan to get you back in shape and ready to go when summer is knocking on your door. 

The field of fitness contains many different areas. Surfing requires some areas more than others. Our exercise plan contains all of the needed fields in each week to get you back on track.

Endurance is needed since we are paddling a lot. Paddling is the running of surfing. It’s a crucial part when it comes to catching waves and maintaining your coordinative skills which suffer the more exhausted you become. This is why one focus will be on general and surf specific endurance.

Besides that we need enough strength in our upper body and core/hip area in order to execute a take-off that is fast and technically correct. Also our legs have to be strong enough to compensate irregularities of the surface and possible drops. Therefore another part will be about strengthening our whole body by working on functional movements.

Furthermore a well trained core and high level of coordination is essential. Core strength and coordination accompany every part of surfing. Whether it is paddling, taking off or surfing turns, a stable core and well functioning reflexes in muscles and tendons are of high relevance. In order to improve here we partly implement the training of core and coordination into other exercises but also created movements that target these areas directly. 

The last point that highly affects our surfing performance is mobility. In comparison to flexibility training, mobility focuses more on active movements that improve your active range of motion in a holistic approach. We need to have mobility in every movement when surfing, in our shoulders when paddling, in our hips and lower body when taking off and in our core area when surfing. 

Every week will contain all four areas and every session will consist of different exercises to work on those fields that determine our surfing performance.

Fitness plan

Previous to any form of exercise you should get advice from your medical doctor to prevent possible injuries or damages. Furthermore you should consider exercising with experienced people, especially if you are just starting to work out.



We recommend to warm-up/mobilise before every surf and training session. Maybe you have already a warm-up routine that you feel comfortable and well prepared with. If that’s not the case we recommend the mobility (range of motion) exercise shown below as it includes all surf related muscle groups and represents a great routine.

This material is part of the 28 days mobility program “reset” created by Benjamin Heizmann 

We advise to do this routine prior to and after each training. So every day is meant to have this pattern: 

Mobility – Training – Mobility

Additionally you should do 5 take-offs at the end of your mobility exercise. Perform the take-off the way you learned it and focus rather on the right technique than on speed.



All exercises will include a description and depending on the type of exercise a number of repetitions or amount of time and sets as well as the break time in between sets.

Example 1: Push-up    3 x 10 + 30 sec = 3 sets of 10 repetitions per set + 30 sec breaks

Example 2: Plank    2 x 30 sec + 25 sec = 2 sets of holding the plank position for 30 seconds each set and have 25 sec breaks in between the sets

Example 3: Bike ride    Intensity: Low – Medium – High 

  • Low = Breathing slightly faster
  • Medium = Sweating, out of breath
  • High = Full speed and intensity

Many exercises are displayed with different degrees of difficulty. Try the one that you think is right for you at first set and adjust for the second one if necessary.



This program is meant to be done anywhere you like. This is why we tried to reduce the number of training tools to a minimum.

  • Matt
  • Gymnastic ball
  • Bosu ball or similar (A towel folded a few times works as well as long as we create an unstable surface)


Here is week 1 of 6. We put out the exercises for each following week every Saturday.
You should allow 20-30 minutes per training day.


Week 1 

During the first week our focus is on the right technique. So rather execute movements slow, but controlled and technically correct.

Day 1

1.    Mobility + 5 Take-offs
2.    Bike ride: 20 min with low – medium intensity
3.    Mobility + 5 Take-off

Day 2   Rest day  

Day 3

1.    Mobility + 5 Take-offs
2.    One-leg stance on firm surface → 3 x 40 seconds per leg
Description: Standing knee slightly bent and keeping hips in line
→ More difficult: Throw and catch a tennis ball or close your eyes 


3.    Classic push-ups with wide hand placement leaning on table
Description: Ensure your core is engaged and you are not arching through your back (neutral position). Elbows are never completely straight. Chest is open.
→ 3 x till exhaustion or max 20 reps and 45 sec breaks
→ More difficult: Hands on floor (medium) or hands on floor + toes on couch (high)


4.    Mobility + 5 Take-offs 

Day 4   Rest

Day 5 

1.    Mobility + 5 Take-offs
2.    Lunges forward
Description: Parallel stance feet hip-distance apart, step forward with one leg, front knee does not reach over toes, push back from front leg into parallel stance
→ 3 x till exhaustion (till technique suffers) or maximum 30 reps (15 per leg per set) and no breaks


3.    Side lunges
Description: Parallel stance feet hip-distance apart, step sideways with one leg, front knee does not reach over toes, weight over heels, push back from side leg into parallel stance
→ 3 x till exhaustion or maximum 30 reps (15 per leg per set) and no breaks


4.    Low plank on knees and elbows
Description: Ensure your core is engaged and you are not arching through your back (neutral position). Head in line with your spine. Chest is open. Elbows shoulder width apart
→ 3 x 40 sec or till exhaustion and 45 sec breaks→ More difficult: On tows and elbows (medium) or dynamic cross over on toes and elbows (high)


5.    Mobility + 5 take-offs

Day 6+7   Rest



Go to surfing fitness part 2


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